Reading the surface: Body language and surveillance

Andrejevic, Mark (2010) Reading the surface: Body language and surveillance. Culture Unbound, 2 15-36. doi:10.3384/cu.2000.1525.102315

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Author Andrejevic, Mark
Title Reading the surface: Body language and surveillance
Journal name Culture Unbound   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2000-1525
Publication date 2010-04-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.102315
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 2
Start page 15
End page 36
Total pages 22
Place of publication Linkoeping, Sweden
Publisher Linkoepings Universitet
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
20 Language, Communication and Culture
2099 Other Language, Communication and Culture
Formatted abstract
This article explores the role played by body language in recent examples of popular culture and political news coverage as a means of highlighting the potentially deceptive character of speech and promising to bypass it altogether. It situates the promise of “visceral literacy” – the alleged ability to read inner emotions and dispositions – within emerging surveillance practices and the landscapes of risk they navigate. At the same time, it describes portrayals of body language analysis as characteristic of an emerging genre of “securitainment” that instructs viewers in monitoring techniques as it entertains and informs them. Body language ends up caught in the symbolic impasse it sought to avoid: as soon as it is portrayed as a language that can be learned and consciously “spoken” it falls prey to the potential for deceit. The article’s conclusion considers the way in which emerging technologies attempt to address this impasse, bypassing the attempt to infer underlying signification altogether.
Keyword Body language
Poker TV
Lie to Me
Homeland security
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies Publications
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Created: Thu, 07 Oct 2010, 15:50:46 EST by Maria Campbell on behalf of Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies